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Triumphant Johann Zarco lifts Moto2™ world title

Triumphant Johann Zarco lifts Moto2™ world title

A dominant seasons sees Zarco become the most successful French rider in history and take the 2015 Moto2™ World Championship.

The seeds of Johann Zarco’s 2015 Moto2™ World Championship title were born at then end of 2014 when acclaimed manager Aki Ajo began to build the foundations for a Moto2™ team. After years of success in the lighweight class, the Finn set his eyes on success in the intermediate class and needed a rider with the talent and dedication to start the adventure with, Ajo’s eyes fell squarely on Johann Zarco. The Frenchman had shown his speed on the Caterham last year, securing four podiums amongst a sea of Kalexs.

Ajo and Zarco had worked together previously in the 125cc championship when Zarco challenged for the title in 2011 on the Derbi. At Valencia in mid-November they got their first chance to reunite during testing and the potential in the team, bike and rider was immediatley noticeable.

In the build up to the season it was clear that defending Moto2™ champion Tito Rabat would be the man to beat, but Sam Lowes on the Speed Up also emerged as a real title threat during winter testing. With two of Moto3™’s brightest stars, Alex Rins and Alex Marquez also in the mix, the battle for the 2015 crown was set to be a tight one.

Qualifying in Qatar delivered on the off season predictions with Lowes, Zarco and Rabat all lining up on the front row. Disaster struck in the race for all three, Zarco expereinced a technical problem with his Kalex that saw him unable to shift gears in the closing laps. After a near run in with the pitwall, the Frenchman ended in eighth as Jonas Folger took a surprise win.

The paddock headed to Austin with Zarco and the Ajo Motorsport squad determined to leave the Qatar incident behind them. A solid second place behind a blistering Lowes thrust Zarco back to the sharp end of the championship table.

Argentina saw Zarco’s first truly dominant performance, pole position followed by a comfortable victory of over 2.5 seconds. At the Termas de Rio Hondo the partnership between Ajo and Zarco began to flourish as they took the lead in the Moto2™ World Championship.

From this point Zarco’s confidence, and points lead, began to grow and the rider from Cannes began to gain momentum. The likes of Folger, Luthi and Rabat all challenged him as the championship returned to Europe, Zarco claimed second in a hectic last lap at Jerez and was forced to settle for third at home in Le Mans. Even in his attempts to limit the damage, the Frenchman stretched his lead as his rivals faultered.

After Mugello, where he finished second, Zarco’s season came alive with back to back wins, and backflips, in Barcelona and Assen. Much like Argentina, Zarco converted pole position to victories in both races, closing considerable gaps in the final laps and proving he was a threat at every stage of the race. A solid second in Germany allowed Zarco to head into the mid-season break with the luxury of the title lead.

Indianapolis saw Zarco return immediatley to form with another second place. By this stage in the season Zarco was the title favourite and while still aiming for race wins, he began to consider the season as a whole. It was back to the top step of the podium in Brno for Zarco, taking his fourth win of the year. Silverstone and Misano continued to the same beat as Zarco dominated both races, claiming three victories in a row.

The Aragon GP played host to Zarco’s first shot at the tile, the Frenchman needing to finish seven points ahead of Rabat to gain the 2015 crown. A smart and safe ride saw the Ajo Motorsport rider finish in sixth, forcing him to wait until Motegi.

It would be at the Japanese Grand Prix, the sight of his first ever World Championship win, that Johann Zarco became the 2015 Moto2™ World Champion. Tito Rabat was unable to start the Japanese GP due to injury, cementing Zarco's title before the race. The Frenchman was officially decalred as the 2015 Moto2™ World Champion after FP1.

Tags:
Moto2, 2015, Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport, #ZarcoChamp

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